Despite the Saturday weather forecast to be the drier day of the weekend this walk turned out to be on the wet side. Tony Littler led a party of eight setting out from Broadbottom.
Early into the walk there was the promise of a fine morning but the brighter skies weren’t to last.
We set off at10am soon crossing the swollen River Etherow before following the riverside path then cutting up to Broadbottom Railway station to see if anyone had arrived by train.
Crossing Mottram Road we ascended a flight of steps and later took a field path ascending to Hillend. Here we turned right and soon right again taking another field path which later descended through an overgrown area. Our descent continued to the Etherow Valley and we stayed on tracks all the way. Once across the River Etherow we ascended to Lower Gamesley and took an overgrown side path which Tony had cleared on his previous visit. Crossing some rough ground we were soon at the remains of the Melandra Roman Fort and the stopping point for our morning break. The Roman fort is still clearly visible as a square embankment but the site is very overgrown and neglected. The fort dates from the first century AD and was originally built with wooden fence along the embankment. The origin of the name ‘Melandra’ is unclear but it is thought that the Roman name was fort was ‘Ardotalia’. The wooden fort was soon replaced with a stone fort but the site is believed to have been only occupied for around ninety years. The stone was later robbed for local buildings, road construction and stone was even used in the construction of Mottram Church.
Our walk continued up through the housing estate at Gamesley to reach the A626 and soon afterwards we turned left on an extremely waterlogged path pitted with holes from horse hoofs. We inched our way across the quagmire with liquid mud up to the top of our boots. Conditions did become better as we reached Simmondley and Tony decided that it would be better to keep to residential roads in this area.
To get up to Cown Edge we took an uphill path which was quite narrow and slippery with plenty of muddy patches. We toiled up with rain bearing clouds beginning to close in. Our progress was slow, and as we reached the ridge so the weather closed in with a dense fine rain and lowering cloud. It was time for a late lunch and the only feasible spot was to stop at an area of woodland to get what little shelter there was. Some of us found a good spot which kept the rain off but over lunch the cloud settled in on the hill top. What a miserable day it had turned out to be.
The lunch stop was quite short and we set off along a very foggy Cown Edge with no views whatsoever. Another group came the other way appearing out of the gloom. For the afternoon and we pressed on along the cliff top over Coombes Tor and again Tony opted to take a firmer route rather than ploughing through more mud. We descended by passing Robin Hood’s Picking Rods hardly pausing as we passed this monument. Clad in full wet weather gear and heads bowed we pressed on in silence in the steady fine rain.
We later cut across a waterlogged field and followed a track, lane then field path down to Chisworth. Despite it being only mid afternoon the light was so bad with the cloud base well down on the slopes around us.
We crossed the A626 again and descended via a slippery and muddy path to the former Kinderlee Mill. This site is now modern apartments but the location is very much hemmed in the valley with no views. The decision was taken to stay on lanes now as the path through Tom’s Wood was near on impassable according to Tony. It meant a slightly longer route but at least it would provide some better walking underfoot. At the foot of the valley we re-crossed the River Etherow once more then it was back along our outward route in fading light despite it being well before sunset.
Sorry no photographs this time as the weather was so gloomy.